Book By My Bed: Simplicity

This month, I took some time for myself and read Simplicity by Nancy Braithwaite. 

Why did I buy this book? 

There was a time when design books where only realised by designers and the coffee table brought us hunks of their sage design advice and beautiful pictures of their work. Almost an extension of their portfolio.  However, with the arrival of the blogger, design books have taken a bit of a turn. Like an extension of the blog that launch the writer, these books are full of achievable design written in an easily digestible way.  Recently I have found myself wanting to get my hands on a designer written book. I have found that all the recent books I have been reading are all blogger written. I would like to say that I have loved the books that are being created by these guys but I just fancied a change so when this tome came to my attention I went for it. I was also intrigued to learn more about Nancy Braithwaite who is an American designer as I found her work reminded me of houses I had got to know well in the US when with family as a child. 

So, what did I think of this book?

Though Nancy Braithwaite’s title and style is all about simplicity, her use of language is anything but. I personally found this book a bit of a slog to get through. As an interior designer, I understood the points she was making throughout the book, but the way in which they were communicated often made me feel like a three year-old as I waded through the big words to get to the very simple point she was sharing. Sentences such as, “There are expected and unexpected ways to manipulate proportion and scale in a design equation. My preference is for the latter,” left me feeling that there was a (dare I say) more simple way to communicate the point. 

I very much like Nancy Braithwaite’s design and, as I mentioned earlier in this post, her work has a very American feel to it that is reminiscent of the bright white spaces full of linen and wood that I visited in the US as a child. The book is certainly a feast for the eyes and does an excellent job of showcasing her talent throughout the pages. 

Would I recommend this book? 

For the first time since starting my Book By My Bed reviews, I would have to say that no, I would not recommend this book. I hope saying so doesn’t make me a pariah of the design community as I’m sure Nancy is held in great esteem, but overall I found this book to be a bit too much work. After finishing it, I breathed a sigh of relief and instantly ordered a bright sparkly design book written by a blogger to follow it up with. Sorry, Nancy! 

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